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Lyrica - is it just "Snake Oil"?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:20 AM in Pain Medications
I tried Lyrica for about a month and didn't notice a thing. It sure seems to me like every pain doc is prescribing Lyrica almost routinely to all patients with any type of pain. I bet most of you are probably taking it or have taken it, right?

My question is this --
Has anyone noticed improvement in their condition due to Lyrica?

Sure you could've healed while taking Lyrica and think it helped you, but thath doesn't mean it did. I want bonafied answers. If Lyrica really works then stopping Lyrica should result in more pain, and then resuming treatment should reduce the pain once again. Can anyone truly say that Lyrica is helpful to them with this amount of scientific certainty? If so please describe your condition.

I know it was orinally prescribed for shingles and it probably works well for that, but docs prescribing it for back pain on a daily basis seems like some kind of quackery to me. Perhaps I am wrong and I should give it another try so I am willing to seriously listen to any statements claiming that it is a legitamite back pain treatment.


  • Pre-surgery lyrica didn't really help a bit. Post op I was given lyrica, and yes, it helped. I wasn't sure if it was helping because I still had some pain, so I tapered it down and went off of it for a little bit. It didn't take me long (about 5-6 days) before I started it back up again.

    From that point on up to my most recent surgery, I took lyrica, except for a period of time when I tried neurontin (gabapentin) to see if it would help better. I still had/have nerve pain, but the Lyrica makes it more tolerable.

    I am not taking it now because I think this is a life long thing that I will have to live with, and I am trying to lose weight and lyrica doesn't help that. There are some days that I want to go back on Lyrica, because yes, it worked for me.

    So for what it is worth, my vote is it works. It is definitely not Snake Oil.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • that if your pain is not nerve pain that it would not help your pain. I have talked to a ton of people that say it does help their nerve pain.
  • Hello backhurtz247. Actually Lyrica was not originally developed for shingles. It was developed as an anti seizure (anti convulsant) medication (e.g. for epilepsy), as was Neurontin and Topimax. All of these have found off label uses for nerve pain control. Note that the off label use is specifically for nerve pain control and not general pain control. They are not anagesics or anti inflammatories so they will not help in any way at all with general pain, only with nerve-related pain such as burning, stabbing or shooting pain associated with nerve damage (hence the use with shingles patients and back patients with nerve related pain, e.g. sciatica).

    Yes, Lyrica, and Neurontin & Topamax for that matter, does not provide pain relief to everyone but there are a lot of members here, including myself, who have received a lot of nerve pain relief from one or more of these medications.

    So, certainly Lyrica is not snake oil, but it sure is not the be all and end all of pain medications either. Like all medications it has its specific uses and also like all medications it does not necessarily work for all people, or work as effectively for all people.

    Hope this helps... Bruce

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • If you have nerve pain it does work....I have tried coming off of it before and the nerve pain does come back. There is a difference in nerve pain and other pain....narcotics will not help nerve pain as I found out after surgery...I was taking strong narcotics and walking the floor because my arms felt like they were exploding....started taking Lyrica and it calmed down....it did not go away but it made it tolerable.

  • I was takng Lyrica originally for diabetic nerve pain, particularly in my feet. It does work for that. My DO up'd my dose to 100 mg 3x a day for the nerve pain coming from my neck. I do notice a difference when I am on it and when I'm not. It does not do a thing for the repetitive stress muscle pain in my forearms, tho.

    My doctor also added Tramadol at 50 mg 2x a day. I do have a question. I was wondering why refills are not given on these. I noticed when I picked up my prescription that neither the Lyrica or the Tramadol have refills. I had to call in this morning to the pharmacy automated system to have them call the doctor to authorize refills.

    Ken GreyEagle

    p.s. I always had refills on the Lyrica at the lower dose of 75mg 2x a day for my diabetic nerve pain from my Primary Doctor
  • :) GreyEagle, HI! if your state is like mine, California, then the doctor is required by law to reauthroze cetain opiates monthly. tramadol is one of these. you are fortunate that this can be done over the phone in your state. i have to see the doctor each month to get this medication. hope this helps with your question. Jenny :)
  • Thanks Jenny. I'm not sure what the laws are here in Washington State. When I called the pharmacy this morning I got their refill recording line. I just give them the RX Number and they say it will be ready in 24 hours. On prescriptions where there is no refill the recording says they will contact my doctor and it should be ready within 48 to 72 hours.

  • :) wow! why the hard line against Lyrica? i take it every day and can now walk my dog even if it is with a limp. i have gone off it and there is a noticable difference in my pain levels. why would you be so negative about a medication just because you were not helped? if any medication has a chance to help a fellow spiney, give it a break and let us use it! the side effects are such that i would not be on it if it did not help. good luck to you! Jenny :)
  • Sorry, if I was so anti-Lyrica/Neurontin. Just frustrated about it I guess since I had to pay a $40 copay and it did absolutely nothing for me. I'd never heard anything good about it before either (until now), yet I've never heard of anyone with back pain that was not prescribed it.

    I'm very glad that it does work for some of you and that it definitely is not "Snake Oil".
  • Lyrica has helped me, too. I take 75mg 2x a day. It also helps with sleep for me.
  • In Colorado, Tramadol (and Soma for that matter) are not controlled and can have PRN refills for 1 year, like any other non-controlled prescription. In other states they are controlled (probably CIV like Lyrica or CIII like Vicodin), and the same guidelines for other drugs in the CIII-CIV categories must be followed, i.e. only 5 refills, the life of the Rx may only be 6 months, and they must be double counted, but they can also be called or faxed in. Tramadol and Soma come in our controlled deliveries since my company is a national chain, and they are controlled in some states.

    CIII-IV drugs vary by state, but CII drugs are nation-wide. CII's are the only drugs that may not be refilled and must have a new paper RX each time. There are no states in which Tramadol is a CII.

    So, your doctor could authorize refills, but it seems that he would rather monitor you more closely, maybe to see how you are doing in person before he authorizes refills.
  • I have been taking Lyrica for about 10 months now. I wasnt even aware, till I stopped taking it, how well it worked. I have radiculapothy in my left leg and when i discontinued it I had very sharp pains in my leg, foot, and toes. I take 150 mgs twice a day and believe it is a very good nerve med.......Hoot
  • i only realised how well lyrica was helping me when i decided to stop taking it at first there was nt much difference thenm about 4 days later,OMG i was in tears with the pain in my leg.I ve cut down to 5o mg twice aday and that seems to enough.
    Is it highly addictive
  • Lyrica didn't work for me either! Guess we're just the minority! :)

    I ruptured the L1/L2 disc and the fragments migrated upwards and crushed the nerve, nerve root and part of the spinal cord. I had some paralysis and what I thought was a lot of pain. I had a micro-d with hemi-laminotomy. The nerve pain was UNBELIEVABLE as the decompression began. The NS started with Neurontin, but I only made it 2 weeks on the full dose as I was sobbing hysterically 24/7 and suicidal! Then he switched me to Lyrica. I tapered up to 300 mg and stayed with it for 6 weeks, gained some weight but was still taking a ton of pain meds & didn't really think the Lyrica was working. I hate taking meds that I don't think are working -- the side effects...my poor liver having to process them...the cost! So I tapered down to see if there was a difference. There wasn't so I called the NS. He suggested Topamax though he said that, even though it's in the same class of epilepsy drugs as the other 2, it doesn't normally work the same way, but to give it a shot. He wanted me to start with 100 mg/day first week, then 200mg/day second week, then 300mg third week, then stop at full dose at 400 mg day. Well...shock of shock...by the second 100 mg day...I didn't even have to take a pain pill til NOON. Normally I have to take one before my morning coffee! And my nerve pain has gotten better and better!

    So -- I guess we're just all a little different. If Lyrica works for 80% of a dr's patients -- then that's what he'll initially prescribe. But -- I'm with you...I HATE that I have so many half empty pill bottles of drugs that don't work. That's so much money just sitting there. I wish we could return them for a refund -- :) Anyway -- you're not alone! There are just some of us that are different!
  • were lucky in the UK that we only pay £6.65 per prescription no matter what the drug or cost,I suppose the NHS get some things right,What happens if you don t have insurance can you still get meds
  • I have just had my insurance changed and from looking at their website I don't believe the Lyrica is covered....yikes!!!! Lyrica has helped me so much....what is the difference between Lyrica and Neurontin??? Also Lyrica dones not pass through the liver it is excreated through the kidneys.....

  • are in the same class of drugs, in that they are both anti-seizure medications. If Lyrica helped you, it is likely that neurontin will help too, if you have to switch.

    It's strange that the Lyrica wouldn't be covered by insurance. I would double-check that to make sure.

    I'm not sure about either of these drugs in terms of which organ they are processed through. Anyone?
  • Hi Again!

    I think I made matters worse when I made the comment about taking meds that might not work and the unintended side effects, effects on my liver, etc. I'm sorry if that caused any confusion -- I was generalizing and should have been more specific! I'm sorry!

    Now -- I DID look it up and Lyrica is excreted through the kidneys -- I got curious about that too -- good question!

    I hate when insurance just randomly cancels a med that I'm on!!!! That happened to me with Wellbutrin XL! And I had been on it for 4 years! And no warning -- just went to fill it & fortunatly the pharmacist gave me a "heads up" before I got hammered with the giant bill -- there was no generic yet! I called my dr in a panic and ended up buying enough to taper off of it -- still very pricey! I was SO MAD!!!!

    Is there a generic for Lyrica? I bet it is still outrageously expensive though -- right? I can understand -- kinda -- why they would stop paying for name brand when a generic comes out -- but for name brand AND generic -- that is just mean! Sorry -- I'm off topic again.

    But -- maybe Topamax would work for you -- Lyrica didn't work for me -- but Topamax worked WONDERS for my nerve pain! I was so happy!!!!

    Again, so sorry everyone for any additional confusion I might have caused!!

  • I have a herniated disc with tear at L5/S1. It pushes on the the nerve. It leaks on it too. Gives me horrible leg pain. The disc also has DDD. Lyrica doesn't help the DDD ache. That is arthritic. The leg pain caused by nerves it helps better than anything. I have already done prednisone. Then the ESI shots. 2 as a matter of fact. They were supposed to relieve the nerve pain and help the disc. Didn't work.

    I insisted that my surgeon give me something as I will not allow him to do surgery right now. He wants to do round 2. Already did discectomy. So he gave me Lyrica. 50mg to be taken 3x day. 150mg total dose. I take 1x day, 50mg. It works better than anything by far!!!

    The drawback is if I take 3x day I will turn into a dumbass. Short term memory goes out the window. Want to take naps at random times. So I take 1x and don't even take it every day.

  • Topamax is expensive too! But, are there topamax generics out there?
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • I went to pick up the Lyrica, I take 75mg 2x day and the out of pocket cost was $150.00.....at this time the doctor is trying to get approval from my insurance company....I have a few left over and if they don't cover it I will pay for it because it has been a life saver for me.....I have had 2 epidurals in my neck and 3 in my lower back that did nothing.....I have serious nerve pain, once you have nerve pain you know the difference in that and arthritis.....believe me you do not want nerve pain. I am also taking Mobic at the time and it has not knocked any of this pain....another reason I know it is nerve pain.....Darvocet does very little also....maybe takes a little edge off but nothing more. I start physical therapy Monday for the shoulder which I am 99,99 percent sure is fine and this is my neck.....the physical therapy and my doctors are all in the same building so hopefully the PT people will relay back to the doctors how I am doing.

  • Lyrica is for nerve source pain, nothing else. That is, if you have a related muscular issue only, Lyrica won't do anything.

    My experience: I have L4/L5/S1 issues, have had a laminectomy, and they now suggest a spinal fusion of S1/L5. No way!
    I'm taking Lyrica: 1 75mg tab, twice a day, plus
    Methadone: 1 10mg tab, twice daily
    This combo is the best of all the meds I've tried in the last 5 years.
    Methadone is also for nerve pain. One of these meds interrupts the pain message to the brain, and the other blocks its reception at the brain (at this moment I've forgotten which does which. They haven't totally eliminated the pain but have certainly reduced it significantly. Other advice: if you start taking Methadone and take it for a week or so, do NOT stop taking it all at once. It will ruin your day!
  • I have bilateral radicular neuropathy that only increased after my surgery. I was on 100 mg Lyrica 2x daily pre-op, and intially post-op, then increased to 100 3x daily, now at 225 2x daily. When I first started taking the Lyrica I wasn't sure that the price made it worth it and I wasn't convinced that it was helping. When I was referred for my surgery and my surgeon took over prescribing my meds for me, he was very bad about not authorizing my refill for several days or even a week after my pharmacy sent them the request. I discovered then that yes, Lyrica works for me! It takes about a week or so to adjust to the side effects from the Lyrica every time my dosage increases but the times that I have had to endure the pain without it has made me more than willing to live with the side effects. For me the Lyrica provides more effective pain relief than opiate pain meds for the leg pain.
  • I have generalized anxiety disorder and tremors in my hands and arthritis in my back which I was in severe back pain. On a scale from one to ten ten being the worst my pain was eight, my doctor gave me Ibuprofen and that took my pain down to a five. My doctor gave me a sample of Lyrica for the tremors in my hands and since taking Lyrica the tremors in my hands have stopped about 95%. My back pain is 100% gone. It is helping me with my anxiety a whole lot. So I've had sucess with it. If I miss a dose, the tremors return with a vengence as well as my back pain. The only thing is Lyrica makes me hyper, I have a ton of energy. I can live with that. An expected side effect is I no longer crave cigarettes after being on Lyrica.(I was a pack a day smoker too!) Weird I know everyone reacts differently to Lyrica. I am only on 50mgs once a day.
  • Howdy Kelly,

    Thanks for giving life back to this thread - very interesting reading for sure! I think what some people who had issues forget is that it is for nerve pain, not arthritis (as Z0G correctly stated). It is funny, I have noticed that some do great on Neurotrin (sp), and others Lyrica. I've only been on Lyrica and for me 80% relief on the nerve side of the house!

    I skip about 2-3 doses every 2 or 3 weeks to see if anything has changed (yep, doc knows I do this - is okay with it). I literally can NOT function if I don't have it. I've now developed moderate to severe chronic neuropathy in my right arm (severe) and both legs (moderate). I didn't realize how much it was protecting me for those new issues! I am now finally losing the "Lyrica weight", so I am even happier! I am on 150mg 2x a day, and LOVE it!!! I just retired, and when I was driving constantly and moving around at work, I also had to use my Darvocet. I haven't had to use it since I retired! Love Lyrica!!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I am so sad that I can't take Lyrica anymore :( I put on too much weight and am having cardiovascular issues (I think most of this is secondary to the pain stuff, or maybe genetic but aggrivated, but anyway..). Lyrica reduced my pain so much, it really gave me my life back. I am struggling quite a bit now. If I can lose some weight I might try Neurontin, but not until then, I need to get my cholesterol and blood pressure controlled so I don't drop dead of a heart attack before I turn 50 :(.

    I am taking Topamax now, which helps, but not nearly as much as the Lyrica.
  • Howdy!

    So far Lyrica isn't having any negative interaction with my Toprol (Beta blocker - heart med), but I did and do have the weight gain...+35 lbs on it! It seems like it took about 3 months for my weight to stabilize, and now I am actually *slowly* losing it! I have lost 18 lbs now in a month and a half. I figure I will lose more now that I have installed a pool finally! I've exercised in that sucker more in the last 2 weeks than I have since my last surgery!!!! I can't believe it took my 20+ years living in Florida to put in a pool!!

    I hope you can try Neurontin or some other nerve pain med to give you relief. I found a "bunch" of my quality of life came back thanks to Lyrica, to the point I even told my NS, "I will take the weight gain over pain any day!!!" What is sad is most of our doctors short of 'hitting' their funny bone; they really have nothing to compare to too truly understand how bad and different nerve pain is to say muscle pain, or that of a broken bone! Support *HUGZ* to ya Mom - I hope you can find some relief!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • The weight just has to go, my blood pressure was up to 160/120. It is controlled by meds but my cholesterol is way up, I seem to be developing ulcers, and my glucose is going up- in other words, I appear to be developing metabolic syndrome :( I am on the heavy side, but active and not morbidly obese, so whether it's stress induced, genetic, or a combination I don't know.

    I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place. It sucks! Right now I'm in a very bad place, snapping at people left and right. I need to put a smiley of like a monster or something on all my posts so everyone gets it. "Sorry, my back is killing me, my stomach is a burning ball of fire in my gut, and there seems to be no end of it. I'm sure you understand."

    I don't see anything evil with fangs.
  • Support and Understanding *HUGZ* Been there, done that - the snap at people left and right, he!! I've even snapped at myself! It gets to ya Happy, it really does - that is what "normals" don't understand when people have chronic pain, not to mention medical issues that aren't going to be fixed anytime (or ever) soon!

    My family genetics have high heart rates and low blood pressure (100/50 avg.), so the Toprol gives me "quality" beats vs. quantity beats! Wow, didn't realize I felt that bad till I started the Toprol! I am opposite of you in that I have the low glucose issues! Much of the same feelings you describe though when too low.

    Yes ma'am I DO understand, and like many am here to support in anyway I can!!! Fangs are good, fangs are normal for us - embrace those puppies!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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